Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Reviews

THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US by Emily Skrutskie
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Feb. 8, 2016

"Personal and cultural complexities distinguish this fresh and fascinating look at a lawless future. (Science fiction. 14 & up)"
The world's geopolitical balance rests on a genetically modified sea monster and his 17 1/2-year-old trainer. Can she resist the adrenaline rush of a pirate's life to keep the world aright? Read full book review >
ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"Reminiscent of the best of Jo Walton and Nina Kiriki Hoffman."
Will science or magic save our world and all the living beings on it? That's the question posed in this science fantasy love story by the editor-in-chief of online geek mecca io9.com (Choir Boy, 2005).Read full book review >

THE RISING by Ian Tregillis
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 1, 2015

"Part 3 can't come too soon."
War overshadows this second volume of an alternate-world trilogy (The Mechanical, 2015) set a few hundred years after the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens blended clockwork and alchemy to create the robotic Clakkers.Read full book review >
WAKE OF VULTURES by Lila Bowen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Readers will love this absorbing fantasy adventure (the first in a planned series) and its strong, dynamic heroine."
A fantasy set in a Wild West populated by plenty of vicious monsters—and one unwilling heroine. Read full book review >
ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"Ambitious, heartbreaking, and out-of-this-world awesome. (Science fiction. 13 & up) "
In the wake of an interstellar incident, a post-mortem dossier comprising interview transcripts, memos, instant-messaging transcripts, diary entries, and more is assembled in this mammoth series opener. Read full book review >

RADIANCE by Catherynne M. Valente
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"A heady, strange, and beautifully written novel about how stories give form to worlds."
Valente imagines an alternate solar system and sends her heroine, a filmmaker, to Venus, where she disappears. Read full book review >
ANCILLARY MERCY by Ann Leckie
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"Wraps up the story arc with plenty of room to tell many more tales in this universe. Let's hope Leckie does."
In the conclusion to Leckie's multiaward-winning trilogy (Ancillary Justice, 2013; Ancillary Sword, 2014), Fleet Captain Breq Mianaai directly confronts Anaander Mianaai, the interstellar ruler who blew up Justice of Toren, the ship that housed Breq's consciousness.Read full book review >
A THOUSAND NIGHTS by E.K. Johnston
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"Detailed and quiet, beautifully written with a literary rhythm that evokes a sense of oral tale-telling, this unexpected fantasy should not be missed. (Fantasy. 12 & up)"
A loose retelling of The Arabian Nights frame story from Morris Award- and Kirkus Prize-finalist Johnston takes ideas of power and gender, belief and love, and upends them. Read full book review >
THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE by Patrick Ness
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"Fresh, funny, and full of heart: not to be missed. (Fantasy. 13 & up)"
It's not easy being normal when the Chosen One goes to your high school. Read full book review >
A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS by George R.R. Martin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"As Tolkien had his Silmarillion, so Martin has this trilogy of foundational tales. They succeed on their own, but in addition, they succeed in making fans want more—and with luck, Martin will oblige them with more of these early yarns."
Huzzah! Martin (The Ice Dragon, 2014, etc.) delivers just what fans have been waiting for: stirring tales of the founding of the Targaryen line.Read full book review >
SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family. (Fantasy. 14 & up)"
Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age. Read full book review >
BEASTLY BONES by William Ritter
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"A witty and weird adventure equal parts Sherlock and Three Stooges. (Fantasy. 12-18)"
Normal teen and abnormal detective unearth more paranormal mysteries in this fast-paced sequel to Jackaby (2014).Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >